Accessing the right solutions…
When Kristen* and Rangi’s* relationship dissolved their daughter became the subject of a bitter battle for custody.
The parents refused to communicate and became highly critical of each other. Things between them came to boiling point when they began to engage in a custody battle over their three-year-old daughter, Awhina*.
Kristen was trying to prevent Rangi from seeing Awhina and was willing to go to a court hearing to enforce this. Rangi was fighting back and trying to obtain full custody. Before the hearing took place, they were referred to the Supervised Access programme.
Safer Ashburton has provided Supervised Access since 2013 as part of a contract with Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children. Skilled staff oversee and monitor visits between parents and children that are not in their care. Referrals to the service may also come from the court.
Over the course of three months, the Supervised Access coordinator would be present during Rangi’s visits and worked with both parents to find a solution for access to Awhina. Kristen was encouraged to try and find a workable compromise that would allow Rangi to have unsupervised contact as the court was not likely to rule in her favour.
On the first day of the hearing, Kristen proposed an arrangement in which Rangi would have regular visits with his daughter. He accepted and the hearing was concluded earlier than scheduled without any further animosity.
Since their involvement with Supervised Access, Kristen and Rangi have both moved out of the district and are amicably resolving their issues with one another. Rangi is able to see Awhina regularly and even has her for overnight stays. Things are going well and most importantly, Awhina is able to spend time with both her parents.
*Names and photos have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals.